Do you remember that scene in Rocky ... (I want to say IX, but the number could have been higher) when Rocky Balboa receives a south-pawing and reels towards the ropes, bludgeoned and surely down-and-out, when he gets one landed on his chin and is sent spinning in slow motion towards the canvas? Well, that's how landlords feel who dusted themselves down over the weekend, got an earful from their Mums about 'looking on the bright side', went into the office this morning and heard about T. M. Lewin who are on the verge of a pre-pack.
Kapow! Straight to the left cheek. They crawled to the ropes, their Mums' words ringing in their ears, thinking, 'Well, at least we have those New Look properties ...' Oops! Our close friends at Retail Gazette tell us that the fashion retailer has hired consultancy CBRE in an effort to move its 500 strong store estate across to turnover-based rents, which increases the possibility of its falling into a pre-pack Administration should those discussions not be successful. Grrrrrrrr, roar Retail Gazette, another pre-pack. More jobs lost and those over-heavy pockets of Insolvency Practitioners even more lined with directors' pieces of silver.
Mind you, New Look, who employ north of 6,000 people, should know the way to the Insolvency Practitioners' offices as it is its second financial restructuring in less than two years, following a debt-for-equity swap with stakeholders in January 2019. Talks between New Look and landlords have been underway for much of the month, but the 'fast fashion retailer' has expressed concern that some landlords will block its move to turnover-based rents. Good luck with that landlords, the NTI newsroom is thinking, as we hand them a stained and bloodied towel and ask them how many fingers we are holding up. New Look said a pre-pack administration was one of the options the retailer was discussing, but said it was “the last thing it wants”.
“We are committed to seeking a consensual agreement with landlords to move to turnover rents, and to work in partnership with them as we continue to navigate these incredibly challenging and uncertain times together,” a New Look spokesperson told Retail Gazette. New Look's landlords have had a sign this was going to happen, as the retailer moved onto monthly rents across much of its portfolio at its last restructuring, but did ask for rent holidays on many of its stores.
We'll see what happens in Rocky X: Return Of The Landlord.